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11 Linux command line guides you shouldn't be without

Some of this year's top Linux command line (CLI) tools for beginners and pros alike.
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Linux command line output with green text

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I do not know whether it is really true but I have heard there is a traditional Chinese curse that goes, "May you live in interesting times." 2020 has certainly been a very interesting year for many reasons. My idea of interesting is probably different from most people's because I find Linux command line interface (CLI) tools to be some of the most interesting things on the planet. So I had a very interesting year because Enable Sysadmin published many articles this year that explored numerous command line utilities.

The eleven articles we have selected encompass a wide variety of Linux command line tools and utilities. These articles range from detailed looks at single commands to lists of commands that every beginner should know. They cover the technology spectrum from networking to tools that are useful in system administration, development, problem solving, or daily operations.

Here are some brief comments about each topic:

  1. How to use the Linux mtr command - The mtr (My Traceroute) command is a major improvement over the old traceroute and is one of my first go-to tools when troubleshooting network problems.
  2. Linux for beginners: 10 commands to get you started at the terminal - Everyone who works on the Linux CLI needs to know some basic commands for moving around the directory structure and exploring files and directories. This article covers those commands in a simple way that places them into a usable context for those of us new to the command line.
  3. Linux for beginners: 10 more commands for manipulating files - One of the most common tasks we all do, whether as a Sysadmin or a regular user, is to manage and manipulate files.
  4. More stupid Bash tricks: Variables, find, file descriptors, and remote operations - These tricks are actually quite smart, and if you want to learn the basics of Bash along with standard IO streams (STDIO), this is a good place to start.
  5. Getting started with systemctl - Do you need to enable, disable, start, and stop systemd services? Learn the basics of systemctl – a powerful tool for managing systemd services and more.
  6. How to use the uniq command to process lists in Linux - Ever had a list in which items can appear multiple times where you only need to know which items appear in the list but not how many times?
  7. A beginner's guide to gawk - gawk is a command line tool that can be used for simple text processing in Bash and other scripts. It is also a powerful language in its own right.
  8. An introduction to the diff command - Sometimes it is important to know the difference.
  9. Looking forward to Linux network configuration in the initial ramdisk (initrd) - The initrd is a critical part of the very early boot process for Linux. Here is a look at what it is and how it works.
  10. Linux troubleshooting: Setting up a TCP listener with ncat - Network troubleshooting sometimes requires tracking specific network packets based on complex filter criteria or just determining whether a connection can be made.
  11. Hard links and soft links in Linux explained - The use cases for hard and soft links can overlap but it is how they differ that makes them both important – and cool.

Top 11 Linux command line guides from 2020

Topics:   Year in review   Linux   Command line utilities  
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David Both

David Both is an Open Source Software and GNU/Linux advocate, trainer, writer, and speaker who lives in Raleigh North Carolina. He is a strong proponent of and evangelist for the "Linux Philosophy." More about me

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